Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Hay thefts? 85% forage failure in colorado this year

A load of hay I picked up this summer - paid for!
The drought across the center of the country has meant that one of the commodities that usually doesn't warrant a second glance is being stolen -- hay!

Farmers and ranchers in Colorado are seeing stacks of hay stored by the roadside stolen.  And we're talking about semi-truck loads of hay, too.  That's a pretty dedicated thief. 

The hay thefts are being prompted by high hay prices this year; in some cases double the price of last year.   Most hay producers have steady customers, and so most harvests are spoken for already.  Any extra produced is being sold for record prices, so a load of hay might bring $5,000 to the thief.   And there's no brand on hay, no license.  

Hay is  bulky, and diesel prices are high, so shipping hay costs quite a bit.  It's interesting because hay prices in the northwest haven't really changed that much; our weather this year was drier and warmer than usual, and this actually made for excellent hay at good prices.  I purchased my years supply in early August at a price I was happy with. 

Want to see what hay prices are in Colorado?   Small squares at $14/bale.. over $300 a ton.  That is very expensive to me.  My hay was $160 a ton, a little over half that cost. 

I ran across the hay issue as I was looking at grass fed dairies around the country, and around the world.  We have a great climate for growing grass, and I was curious if there were  people dairying cows on a grass-only diet, contrasted with a feed-centric diet of most dairies. 

The answer to that is yes, and that's a post that's coming up. 

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